Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Behavior is Best?

What is the most important behavior to teach a dog? Deciding which one is most important will vary between every person you ask, dog trainer or family member. What matters is what is most important to you! While one person may claim that having a quiet dog is essential another person may want their dog to bark to alert them of company. One person may find a recall is important and the next feels that "Wait" is the best behavior. It is important to acknowledge this when interacting with someone else's dog, especially within their home. While you may find something the dog is doing unexceptable, remember that you do not have to live with the dog and it may okay for the dog to behave that way.
As a dog owner, when you travel with your pet to other people's dog friendly homes it is important to acknowledge that they may not feel it appropriate for your dog to lounge on their furniture. Be prepared to manage such situations so that you and your dog will be welcome back with open arms.
Scout and Henry on the in-laws couch after receiving the pat on the couch cushion indicating this couch is okay for dogs.
One thing that will help is to have certain behaviors on cue. If you are okay with your dog cuddling with you on the couch at home, your dog should ask to get on the couch by waiting for a pat on the seat beside you. If their is no pat on the seat, the dog is not welcome to curl up on the couch and must find an alternative spot. By having your dog wait for the invitation to relax on the sofa will help prevent your dog from surfing friends, in-laws, and other peoples furniture or beds when it is not appropriate. It is still a behavior you can enjoy with your dog but without putting stress on a relationship with friends and family.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Leash Pulling

Is pulling on the leash something your dog does? It is not natural for our dogs to walk nicely by our side when we hook the leash on their collar. They often become great at pulling because they are getting rewarded for pulling on the leash. Your dog might be greeting that oncoming stranger, the other dog, or sniff the fire hydrant on a tight leash. All of those are very reinforcing to your dog. Sign up for a basic level class at Bessey's Positive Paws and learn the fundamentals to getting your dog to walk nicely by your side even in distracting situations!
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